For the first time since 1986, parents and young children can participate in the Singapore Writers Festival and pen their stories together. Called SWF3 (SWF For Families) you can look forward to an exciting line-up of indoor jaunts, storytelling escapades, workshops and talks for families interested in literature (and fun). Every weekend, from Oct 30 to Nov 8, professional storytellers, such as Kiran Shah, Sheila Wee, Karen Lee and Shalni Doshi will regale the audience.

There are free as well as ticketed sessions for SWF3, with tickets being very reasonably priced at $5, $10 and $15. Check out the website here and the full programme here.

Special bilingual tellings, such as ‘The Lost Tail’ at 3pm this Saturday, Oct 31, and ‘Adventures with Ati’ at 3pm on Nov 8, next Saturday (both are free-of-charge and held at the Asian Civilisations Museum, or ACM for short), are easy to understand and useful for engaging children in their mother tongues.

Littlest ones (4 to 6 years) can meet award-winning authors such as Chris Haughton, Ah Guo, Sarah Mounsey and Emila Yusof, while older kids (7 to 12 years) hobnob with Rob Cowen, Paro Anand, Lianne Ong, AJ Low and more. There’s even an event by the To S.I.R (Socially Inclusive Reads) With Love team, suitable for children with dyslexia or visual impairment. For teens (13+), our expanded SWF3 programme features a cool new Young Adult (YA) track, starring the likes of Rachel Hartman, Whiti Hereaka, Joyce Chng and Joyce Chua.

There are planned events for parents too. When not joining your kids in the activities, you can come commiserate with one another in unticketed panel discussions called ‘Help, My Son Doesn’t Read’ (Nov 1, Sunday, 4pm at ACM), and ‘Tell Them The Truth’ (Nov 7, Saturday, 3.30pm at ACM).

Remember to drop by the SWF3 bookstore, run by Closetful of Books, and check out the selection specially curated by the owner, Denise Tan. Grab your copies in time to get them signed by your favourite authors. The SWF3 bookstore is located at the River Room on the second floor of ACM. The bookstore opening hours during the Festival are: Saturdays : 10am – 7pm and Sundays : 11am – 6pm.

Asher and I had the honour of experiencing the SWF3 at a special private session with storyteller Chuah Ai Lin last Saturday. She showed us how stories could be concocted through simple activities like paper-cutting, story-dice and drawing shapes. This was the very first time Asher and I tried combining random ingredients for an out-of-the-box story which was great for exercising our lateral thinking muscles.

One of the kids telling us a story he's made up by tearing paper.

One of the kids telling us a story he’s made up by tearing paper.

Another bright boy telling us a story he and his mummy made up with a drawing of a key and an ice cream cone.

Another bright boy telling us a story he and his mummy made up with a drawing of a key and an ice cream cone.

At age four, Asher is more interested in free cookies than the storymaking... But he made sure that our story involved Iron Man and two other superheroes.

At age four, Asher is more interested in free cookies than the storymaking… But he made sure that our story involved Iron Man and two other superheroes.

Apparently you don't need to have professional drawing skills to participate in this workshop. :P

Apparently you don’t need to have professional drawing skills to participate in this workshop. 😛

You can catch Ai Lin at her storymaking workshop, called ‘Cut, Shake, Roll’ ($5) on Nov 7, Saturday, 10.30am, at ACM, as well as a free storytelling session called ‘Threshold Stories’ Nov 1, Sunday, 2pm, at ACM.

Time to win some tickets to SWF! 

National Arts Council, the organiser, is going to give one winner a bundle of tickets worth $5 each that comprises of a pair of tickets to each of the events below:

  1. Animation On A Phone (Oct 31, this Saturday, 10am to 11.30am, suitable for children ages seven to nine)
  2. A Little Bit Lost (Nov 1, this Sunday, 11am to 12noon, suitable for children ages four to six)

Both events are conducted by Irish illustrator and author Chris Haughton, require parent and child participation, and will be held at ACM’s Learning Gallery. Collection of tickets will be done at the Ticketing booth at The Arts House during the Festival.

To win, simply e-mail pineapplegarden[at]gmail[dot]com by tomorrow (Oct 30) noon with your NRIC number, full name and mobile number.

Update: And the winner is Ms Yanni Cheng! Congratulations Yanni. 🙂